I never thought I would say it, but I was enthralled with a Future’s End Month issue.  The previous issue’s I’ve reviewed have mostly fallen flat or piqued my interest, but overall have failed to capture the essence of what the future holds in store for our heroes.  Red Hood, however, manages to knock this concept out of the park and uses a blend of backstory and action to create a future that fans of Jason Todd can believe in.  Quite frankly, this is the book that people were probably looking forward to when it was revealed that Jason would be getting a title of his own (kinda).

There isn’t much to review here that wouldn’t give away big plot points, other than that Jason has had a falling out with his team and has resorted to, in his own words, cleaning up the garbage.  He is not attached to any group or nation, rather, he eliminates those he feels deserve to be punished.  The major information about what’s been going on with the rest of the team has been put in the spoilers.  The majority of the issue, written by Scott Lobdell, is heavy on the exposition early on, setting up what has been happening in the last few years, but eventually finds a comfortable balance between Jason’s inner monologue and story-progressing dialogue.  If you want a fun and action-filled one-shot following a solo Jason Todd, then this is a must-own.

The artistic work of Scott Kolins is rapidly becoming some of my favorite of the entire series’ run, with his depiction of Red Hood being the most consistently drawn.  He does go a little overboard with the whole “light reflecting off of Jason’s mask” thing, but that really only became noticeable the second time I read through the book.  There is also this weird thing with close-ups that jarred me, but now I’m just nitpicking.

This was the book that I was expecting going into Future’s End Month, and it’s this type of book with a strong story following Jason’s adventures that I would be extremely interested in reading.  The team book always felt forced between Roy’s sudden development of random abilities and an insanely overpowered and underdeveloped Kori; with Jason taking center stage, Lobdell and future writers would be able to create a hitman/mercenary line that explores Jason’s complex psyche and motivations.

Spoiler

  • So five years in the future, Kori has left Earth to take her place on the throne as leader of the Tamaranian people, which is a pretty believable explanation if not a little shaky.
  • Roy has the far more interesting future, and one that seems slightly less plausible. He joins the Justice League to replace the dead Green Arrow, and pretty much styles himself with a gun which he uses more than his bow.  It was a weird trade off, but seeing him cap Jason in the face was pretty intense.
  • Jason choosing to keep the bullet hole in his mask was a revealing moment. As much as he talks about distancing himself from the past, he clings to the last interaction he and Roy had with one another.  It spoke a lot to how, regardless of his attitude, there’s still some brotherhood between the two – at least from Jason’s side.
  • That Bat symbol over Morgan’s bed was pretty bad-ass, but those were some dumb military security officers. “Oh, we’re supposed to be protecting this guy, let’s not question when the giant blimp hangs right overhead.”
  • It’s interesting that Jason says he no longer enjoys killing and sees it instead as a mostly emotionless job to do, a necessity that must be completed.

Favorite Quote: “We were just three friends – trying to make the world a better place.  Or if you want me to be completely honest?  We were just trying to save ourselves.” – Jason Todd

Recommended If…

  • You’re even the slightest bit a fan of Jason Todd.
  • You enjoy some old-dog mercenary action.
  • You don’t mind introspective exposition.

Overall:

The most true-to-character and entertaining of all the Future’s End Month issues I’ve reviewed, I strongly suggest fans of Jason to pick up this book.  A strong blend of fast-paced action, solid artwork, and an entertaining story come together to boost Red Hood and the Outlaws to the top of this month’s books.

SCORE: 9/10